Team-BHP > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 23rd February 2018, 15:33   #1
Senior - BHPian
 
SJM1214's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Anand(GJ23)
Posts: 1,436
Thanked: 5,204 Times
Default Ladakh in a Duster AWD

Prologue: We four friends are planning/ discussing a trip to Ladakh region by an XUV 500 during the first week of May 2018 (or whenever Rohtang and Zoji La are open). This discussion reminded me of my last trip to Leh during Oct 2016. So, here is the story of my last Leh trip.

A teaser.
Name:  162.JPG
Views: 15517
Size:  166.6 KB

My obsession with mountains!

Well! let me be specific, my Obsession with the Himalayas is well known to my family and friends.

2003 Entire Sikkim by Hired Taxi,
2004 Dharmshala – Maclodganj by Santro,
2005 Pin Parvati Trek,
2006 Bhrigu Lake Trek,
2007 Dehradun, Mussoorie and Nainital by Santro,
2008 Kasol, Malana & Kheerganga Trek,
2009 Leh by Hired Sumo,
2011 Leh by Royal Enfield,
2013 Spiti by hired Sumo
... & many one or two-days trips to Manali and Shimla but nothing after 2013. This situation was making me restless. Moreover, all the blogs, Travelogues, The Himalayan club page at FB was making me jealous.

I got married in 2013. I wanted to plan a honeymoon trip to the Himalayas but someone gifted us a 3 night/4 days trips to Goa and all my plans for "honeymoon in the Himalayas" got ruined. Three years of my married life passed, we had many trips but nothing to the north.

And then, during July 2016 something happened.

I got a call from the Himalayas.
Well, not actually a call, it was a WhatsApp message.

I got a message on WhatsApp from one of my London-based friends. He wanted me, to help him, to plan a self-drive trip to Leh by a one-month-old Duster AWD. They were two guys, one based in London and another one based at Ahmedabad. As per my NRI friend, both of them were toying the idea to visit Leh from last almost 10 years. Ahmedabad based friend had purchased a Duster AWD and that was the perfect a reason to visit Leh.

It's always fun to plan a trip/travel. We started discussing where-how-when-why of "his" trip to Leh.

Out of the blue, my NRI friend asked me..." why don't you join us?” Oops, interesting question! All of my friends know that I am a hardcore travel buff. I have been to Leh thrice, roamed half of India by own bike or car, in love with the Himalayas and crazy for road travels. I was a perfect companion for them. I said... "chalo". I am coming.

Wait a Minute!
Well, it was not that smooth. My marriage was just three years old. We had our baby daughter back in Dec2014. No, I can't take decisions by saying " ha chalo". I had to inform (take permission) from wife and parents. I was confident about parent’s go ahead, they knew me and my travel pattern. I was worried about wife's reactions. I explained her the entire plan, to my astonishment, she said yes. I called up my NRI friends and confirmed that I am coming.

One guy was in London, another at Ahmedabad and me at Anand. All three of us knew that it wasn’t possible for us to meet face to face and discuss our plan. Hence, we created a WhatsApp group named "Chalo Ladakh". We started discussing our plan. We inquired around. Every expert said no for Ladakh in October, there are always chances of roadblocks due to early snowfall. I was so much irritated by everyone’s negative advice. I talked to the great HVkumar. I asked HVK that… “Is going to Ladakh during October is taboo? He answered calmly…“Yes indeed it’s a taboo, but not impossible”. Then, I came across the great travelogues on Ladakh region by tsk1979 and adc. I was not BHPian during Aug2016, so it wasn't possible to talk to Tsk1979 and adc. However, talking to them wasn't necessary, everything was amazingly covered in their travelogues. Thanks to tsk1979 and adc.

Thread by adc, which talks about Ladkah during October:
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...mmit-trek.html (Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek)


Thread by tsk1979, which have all the details including maps:
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route...ate-guide.html (Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide)


Why No to Ladakh in October:
• By end of September, winter starts in this area, in case of early snowfall all the high passes on Manali-Leh and Leh-Srinagar highways get blocked.
• Hotels, camps, dhabas start closing business from September end on Manali – Leh Highway.
• Every year during the first week of October, Raid De Himalaya gets organized on this route. Officials of this Rally blocks the road for free passage of participant vehicles. (Our date and time for starting from Manali was same as Raid’s plan).
• The temperature of this region drops to subzero after September, which makes it more difficult.
• No rescue operation after September by Indian Army.

Our Plan:

Dates : 06-10-2016 to 16-10-2016
Day 1 : Ahmedabad to Jaipur
Day 2 : Jaipur to Delhi.
Day 3 : Delhi to Mandi
Day 4 : Mandi to Manali-Palchan
Day 5 : Palchan to Jispa
Day 6 : Jispa to Leh
Day 7 : Local Sightseeing
Day 8 : Leh to Nubra
Day 9 : Nubra to Pangong to Leh
Day 10: Leh to Kargil or Drass
Day 11: Kargil to Banihal
Day 12 : Banihal to Ludhiana
Day 13 : Ludhiana to KishanGarh
Day 14 : KishanGarh to Ahmedabad

Last edited by SJM1214 : 27th February 2018 at 11:34.
SJM1214 is offline   (8) Thanks
Old 23rd February 2018, 15:51   #2
Senior - BHPian
 
SJM1214's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Anand(GJ23)
Posts: 1,436
Thanked: 5,204 Times
Default re: Ladakh in a Duster AWD

Day 1: Anand-Ahmedabad to Jaipur.

Our NRI friend was directly coming from London. Instead of landing at Ahmedabad, I asked him to land at Delhi, so he can save his two days of A’bad – Delhi journey. Another friend and owner of our ride had some personal commitment. He also chooses to travel Delhi by air.

My job was to drive A”bad – Delhi alone, pick them up from Delhi airport and start immediately towards Mandi. I started driving from A’bad at 1300 with all the luggage by brand new Duster AWD. Alone? Boring? Tiring? Never! It was raining cats and dogs. October rain was in full swing. It was fun driving on nicely maintained Ahmedabad-Palanpur-Sirohi highway.

My Plan was to have a night stay at the outskirt of Jaipur & start early morning to Delhi, to reach Delhi Airport at 1000. Ahmedabad – Jaipur road via Sirohi was in excellent condition with occasional cows and camels on road. With some very small stops for tea and smokes, I reached Hotel Hiwayking, Jaipur around 2130. Some of my Jaipur based friends were already waiting for me at the hotel.

PS : No Photographs during Ahmedabad - Jaipur.

A tea stop somewhere around Ajmer.
Name:  dust.JPG
Views: 14520
Size:  138.4 KB

Last edited by SJM1214 : 24th February 2018 at 10:02.
SJM1214 is offline   (8) Thanks
Old 23rd February 2018, 16:27   #3
Senior - BHPian
 
SJM1214's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Anand(GJ23)
Posts: 1,436
Thanked: 5,204 Times
Default re: Ladakh in a Duster AWD

Day 2: Jaipur-Delhi-Mandi.

After a good night's sleep, when I received a wake-up call from hotel reception at 4000, I was already awake, and ready to move.

The plan was to start early from Jaipur and reach Delhi airport as soon as possible, to avoid heavy traffic in Gurgaon and Delhi. I started towards Delhi at 0500. Jaipur- Delhi was a nice road, without much traffic during early morning hours. It was a nice & event-less drive. I reached Delhi Airport at 0845, parked my vehicle at airport parking and had heavy breakfast at one of the cafés at arrival T1C waiting-lounge. Flights of my other travel mates were on time both of them landed at 1000, after a formal hi & hello and some tea, we immediately got in our vehicle and started our journey to HP at 1215. We wanted to get out of Delhi as soon as possible!

We wanted to reach Manali. Delhi to Manali is 550km. We started at 1215 from Delhi, so we were very well aware that we can’t make it. We kept our options open for a night stay, a maximum target was to reach Mandi, but no rush! We got out of Delhi. We had our lunch at one of the Haveli at Karnal and then I slept in the back seat.

I woke up somewhere around kiratpur Sahib and then I got a call.

"Hello"

"sir aap kal Jaipur Mai yaha hamari hotel pe ruke they"(Sir! you stayed at our hotel yesterday)

"Ji ha"(yes)

"Aap yaha PE aapna driving licence bhul Gaye ho"(You forgot your Driving Licence at our hotel)

"oh no, What..., please aap kuch help karo" (Please help me!)

Hotel guy was co-operative. I explained to him that, we are going to Leh - Kashmir and I need that original DL anyhow. I asked him to run to any courier guy, pay as much as he asks and send it. It must reach Manali next day. He tried his best and called me... “saab koi bhi courier mai do din toh lagenge hi”(Courier guys will take two days) Huh!! So now I had to do my entire trip without my original DL. I had 10 photocopies of my DL with me and a scanned soft copy on my phone!

Three states! One of them was an ongoing conflict zone (Srinagar-Kashmir) and I had to drive in these states without original DL. Practically, I was not only without a driving licence but also without a proper physical ID proof. All I had was photocopies and soft copies. My mood was ruined, I wanted to forget this. I asked my friend to let me drive, he understood my mood and gave me car keys!

I started driving. That was my 7th trip to Manali. We started climbing mountains. The road was nice with frequent road construction diversions. It is always fun to drive in mountains, only irritation was bus and Volvo drivers, they are crazy drivers without any traffic sense. I was enjoying the drive on mountain roads but other two guys were tired. Our NRI friend, who came all the way from London didn't get any kind of rest or sleep from last 36 hours. We discussed to stop at Bilaspur but decided to push some more. We finally stopped at Hotel Comfort in at Sundernagar. Which was just 10 km before Mandi, so practically we were at Mandi.

PS: So far My DSLR was in the bag. Moreover, news of lost DL was so irritating that I was in no mood to click pictures.

Hotel Comfort in at Sundernagar
Name:  sunderpur 2.JPG
Views: 14487
Size:  130.6 KB

Last edited by SJM1214 : 26th February 2018 at 17:05.
SJM1214 is offline   (8) Thanks
Old 23rd February 2018, 16:56   #4
Senior - BHPian
 
SJM1214's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Anand(GJ23)
Posts: 1,436
Thanked: 5,204 Times
Default re: Ladakh in a Duster AWD

Day 3: SunderNagar-Kullu-Manali-Palchan.

We had a sound sleep at Hotel Comfort In's suite. At 0545, when the alarm buzzed it was the most irritating thing. I thought ..." Kullu tak hi toh Jana hai" and reset my alarm for one more hour and slept.

Finally, at 0645 I didn't have any excuse. I woke up, got out of the hotel to check our vehicle and came to know that, there was some lake just in front of our hotel. I had a small walk there and went back, until that time other two guys were also ready to move.

Sundernagar HP.
Name:  1.jpg
Views: 14508
Size:  210.9 KB

Our plan was to driver till Kullu and do water rafting, reach Manali, do some last time essential shopping for Manali Leh journey and check in at our hotel in Palachan. Mandi to Kullu is 65 km, Kullu to Manali is 40 km and Manali to Palachan our hotel is 12 km, so it was total 120 km. As far as driving was a concern, it was a very relaxing day for us.

A tea stop after Mandi.
Name:  2.jpg
Views: 14442
Size:  181.2 KB

Started for Kullu.
Name:  3.jpg
Views: 14377
Size:  147.4 KB

I got my SLR and my friend started driving. We all were in good mood. Amazing climate, beautiful mountains and the playful Beas River was with us but it wasn't a pleasant drive. All the Delhi to Manali Volvos, Tempo travellers, taxis and private vehicle start at evening and they reach Mandi at the same time when we started for Kullu. Moreover, it was a weekend. So entire Punjab was running to spend the weekend in Manali.

Road to Kullu.
Name:  4.jpg
Views: 14359
Size:  215.5 KB

Beas River.
Name:  5.jpg
Views: 14241
Size:  166.1 KB

Some rest for Duster.
Name:  6.jpg
Views: 14312
Size:  257.1 KB

So, after all, it was a nightmare to drive on that road. Senseless driving by bus drivers and frequent jams was usual. We kept moving, at every jam I used to get out of our vehicle, click some pics and help other guys to clear the traffic jam. It took us 2.30 hours to finish that 60 km to Kullu.

Kullu Town
Name:  7.jpg
Views: 14192
Size:  194.7 KB

Welcome to Kullu.
Name:  8.jpg
Views: 14219
Size:  231.7 KB

We did rafting in Beas river. The flow of water was not that thrilling, so overall rafting was dull. We finished it, had breakfast in Kullu and moved to Manali.

Beas river.
Name:  9.jpg
Views: 14120
Size:  255.7 KB

River Rafting.
Name:  10.jpg
Views: 13977
Size:  153.1 KB

River Rafting.
Name:  11.jpg
Views: 13987
Size:  208.6 KB

River Rafting.
Name:  12.jpg
Views: 13935
Size:  207.3 KB

We stopped at one the shawl shop and bought woollens for our dear and near ones. Our NRI friend had to do a lot of shopping for all of his friends in London. No issue of space in the car, thanks to Duster’s 475 ltr boot space.

A Shawl shop.
Name:  13.jpg
Views: 13881
Size:  178.3 KB

Last edited by SJM1214 : 24th February 2018 at 10:15.
SJM1214 is offline   (4) Thanks
Old 23rd February 2018, 17:11   #5
Senior - BHPian
 
SJM1214's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Anand(GJ23)
Posts: 1,436
Thanked: 5,204 Times
Default re: Ladakh in a Duster AWD

From Kullu, we started noticing posters of "Raid de Himalaya".

Raid de Himalaya is a high altitude extreme adventure race /rally on Manali-Leh or Manali-Spiti road. We knew that we were travelling on the same dates with them. The rally/race happens in collaboration with HPTDC, so during that rally road blockage to give free passage to competitors is highly possible, and it was one of our biggest worries. Some 20KM before Manali, at some hotel we saw all the Raid vehicles, that hotel was the starting line for Raid.

We stopped for a while to talk with some officials. Actually, We wanted to know their flag of time(it wasn't published on their website) on next day so we can plan our move accordingly. One of my old FB friends was a marshal at Raid, I met him took his number to check raid’s timing and status.

Schedule of Raid The Himalayas 2016.
Name:  15.jpg
Views: 13761
Size:  84.7 KB
Image Source: http://www.xraid.in/
SJM1214 is offline   (4) Thanks
Old 23rd February 2018, 17:39   #6
Senior - BHPian
 
SJM1214's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Anand(GJ23)
Posts: 1,436
Thanked: 5,204 Times
Default re: Ladakh in a Duster AWD

At 1230, we reached Manali. Parked our vehicle at Johnson Lodge & Bar and ordered our lunch. All the waiters and hotel staff were too much excited. Curiously, I asked one of the hotel staff.

… "Kya ho Raha hai kyu itni hadbhad machi hai' (What is happening, why all are excited?)

She replied… " lo aapko nahi pata, aaj Salman Khan, Akshya Kumar, Shatrughan Sinha, Huma Qureshi sab yaha paDon'ti"(Dont you know! top bolywood celebrtites are in Manali today.)

Due to Raid de Himalaya, the presence of top celebrities, and weekend rush, entire Manali was excited! We decided to finish our food as soon as possible and leave Manali. After some time, I realized that I know this girl seating just next to my table. Oops, that was Huma Qureshi (I’m a Fan of Gangs of Wasseypur movies). We talked a little about her movies.

We finished our lunch, bought water, dry fruits, chocolates, tissue papers etc. Withdrew enough cash for two days and started for Palachan. To Our beautiful small homestay named The Clifftop Cottage!!

It was just 1315 and our hotel was just 11 km far from Manali. We were relaxed. We even planned to do paragliding and other adventure sports at Solang valley. We did some photography on the way.

Road to Palchan.
Name:  16.jpg
Views: 13786
Size:  165.1 KB

Our Ride.
Name:  17.jpg
Views: 13769
Size:  185.2 KB

Road to Palchan
Name:  19.jpg
Views: 13698
Size:  163.7 KB

We were moving ahead slowly and just before Solang valley, we got stuck in one of the deadliest traffic jam.

All the tourist vehicles which went for site seeing to Rohtang Pass were coming back, more and more vehicles were going towards Rohtang and Solang valley. Too many raid official Vehicles were also going towards Rohtang. Roads were too narrow and usual traffic of buses, trucks and military Vehicles was also there. Overall it was a Chaos. Manali was really excited that day and this was the result of Manali's excitement. It took us 5.15 hours to pass that 3km, from Solang to Palachan.

Traffic jam Beetwin Solang to Palchan.
Name:  traaa.jpg
Views: 13664
Size:  108.5 KB

Our Ride in jam.
Name:  traaa2.jpg
Views: 13666
Size:  120.2 KB

Finally! at 1830, we reached Palachan. We parked our car just next to the road and walked towards our hotel which was on a small hill. A small beautiful hill with the amazing view! The Clifftop Cottage, Palchan.

A pic from Clifftop Cottage. Notice those vehicles jammed in b2b traffic
Name:  traaa3.jpg
Views: 13660
Size:  141.4 KB

Last edited by SJM1214 : 27th February 2018 at 11:39.
SJM1214 is offline   (5) Thanks
Old 23rd February 2018, 17:47   #7
Senior - BHPian
 
SJM1214's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Anand(GJ23)
Posts: 1,436
Thanked: 5,204 Times
Default re: Ladakh in a Duster AWD

Note: We were not able to click photographs of our homestay Clifftop Cottage. Sharing images of my family trip to Manali during April 2017 to get a glimpse of this amazing place.

The Clifftop Cottage. Palchan.
Name:  20.jpg
Views: 13643
Size:  196.5 KB

Garden area.
Name:  21.jpg
Views: 13578
Size:  186.8 KB

View from Room Balcony.
Name:  22.jpg
Views: 13569
Size:  174.2 KB

View from Room's Left Window.
Name:  23.jpg
Views: 13525
Size:  165.7 KB

I called up Kapil Thakur, Owner of The Clifftop cottage. I was very well in touch with Kapil during the planning phase of our trip. Kapil was an amazing help to get us SDM permit to cross Rohtang pass. He asked us to make ourselves comfortable at the cottage. Poor Kapil was also stuck in that jam many vehicles behind us!

It was almost 2100 and that traffic jam was still there, moving slowly! Kapil came, he joined us for dinner! We talked a lot about many things. It was one of the longest days, and we had to wake up early in morning! We called it a day and went to sleep in the cosy and comfortable attic room of Clifftop Cottage!!

Last edited by SJM1214 : 27th February 2018 at 11:40.
SJM1214 is offline   (5) Thanks
Old 23rd February 2018, 18:15   #8
Senior - BHPian
 
SJM1214's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Anand(GJ23)
Posts: 1,436
Thanked: 5,204 Times
Default re: Ladakh in a Duster AWD

Day 4: Palchan to Jispa.

Before planning our trip, we did a hell of a research. Everyone was saying that Leh and October don't go together. "It will be cold”, ”snow hogi”(there will be snow), “road block honge”(Road block) some even said, “tyre fat jaynege”(tyres will tear off). Another worry was, we were sharing dates with Raid de Himalayas!

So! We were already at Palchan, staying at the cosy homestay. Our Biggest question was what should we do? Do we leave before "raid" or after "raid"?

Option 1: We leave before raid competitors and let them pass us, on Rohtang top.
Option 2: We leave after them but there were heavy chances that we get stuck in the heavy rush of Rohtang crazy tourists.


We decided to keep our self ahead of Raid De Himalaya guys. We left Palchan at 0445 and reached Gulaba Check Post. We presented our SDM permit. It was surprising to see that police guy at Gulaba CP was not sleepy and fully awake.

I tried to become friendly and asked... "kyu sahab hum ne aap ko jaga diya.nai?" ( We woke you up?)
He was in good mood replied ...

"nai nai saab, aap ne nahi Raid walo ne puri rat jaga ke rakkha hai". (No No, Raid people kept us awake entire night)

We moved ahead, we were waiting for first light to do some photography. We missed all those amazing views on the way to Rohtang Top. We reached Marhi. We stopped at a dhaba which was fully functional at 0515. We heard some heavy noise coming from the distance, they were two KTMs and one RE Himalaya, and within 5 Minutes three Motorcycles participating under Extreme Category crossed us at Marhi Village at 0525.

Vehicles started coming from another side of Rohtang. Four Tempo travellers crossed us from opposite direction, those were the brave souls who do Leh to Manali in 12 hours that too during the night. We stopped our vehicle carefully in a corner to give passage to one of the Innova, and that fool scratched with our brand new vehicle at the right tail light.

A Dhaba at Marhi Village.
Name:  24.jpg
Views: 13496
Size:  149.5 KB

Notice that dent on brand new Car.
Name:  25.jpg
Views: 13496
Size:  165.1 KB

Marhi Village.
Name:  26.jpg
Views: 13439
Size:  145.8 KB

Milestone at Marhi
Name:  27.jpg
Views: 13441
Size:  169.0 KB

View From slopes of Rohtang Pass.
Name:  29.jpg
Views: 13408
Size:  130.3 KB

Last edited by SJM1214 : 27th February 2018 at 11:41.
SJM1214 is offline   (4) Thanks
Old 23rd February 2018, 18:53   #9
Senior - BHPian
 
SJM1214's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Anand(GJ23)
Posts: 1,436
Thanked: 5,204 Times
Default re: Ladakh in a Duster AWD

We were like… "itni jaldi nikle fir bhi raid wale aa hi gaye" ( We left this early, still raid guys caught us)
We made our mind that… "chalo koi nai"(Nevermind) these are just Motorcycles.

We started for Rohtang top, from distance, we could hear heavy brroooom vrroooom of other motorcycles. All the Raid competitor Motorcycles crossed us, we wished them all the best by giving thumbs up.

We reached Rohtang Top. There was enough daylight and now we were not worried about Raid competitors. We parked our Duster near one of the yellow board of Rohtang Pass. One couple came by a white Delhi WagonR after us. We asked “ itni jaldi kaise?”(How come this early?), they said one of their friends is participating in Raid De Himalaya. We clicked some photographs for them. We passed more than half hour admiring amazing views at Rohtang top.

A Raid De Himalaya competitor.
Name:  30.JPG
Views: 13427
Size:  188.5 KB

At Rohtang Pass.
Name:  31.jpg
Views: 13403
Size:  170.5 KB

Duster at Rohtang Top
Name:  32.jpg
Views: 13375
Size:  134.2 KB

View From Rohtang Top.
Name:  34.jpg
Views: 13315
Size:  114.0 KB

Notice that White Wagon R.
Name:  35.jpg
Views: 13406
Size:  229.8 KB

Last edited by SJM1214 : 27th February 2018 at 11:42.
SJM1214 is offline   (6) Thanks
Old 23rd February 2018, 19:10   #10
Senior - BHPian
 
SJM1214's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Anand(GJ23)
Posts: 1,436
Thanked: 5,204 Times
Default re: Ladakh in a Duster AWD

We started towards Jispa from Rohtang top. The road was in bad shape but we were in good mood. We kept stopping for photographs. There was one Raid competitor standing at a turn, we stopped and asked... "all well?" He replied... "oh yes " with a big smile. We wished him all the best and moved ahead. Later, in Leh we came to know that he was Paul Shubhamoy who died during Raid 2016.

Other Side of Rohtang Top.
Name:  38.jpg
Views: 13349
Size:  199.0 KB

A Rare photograph of our encounter with Raid Competitor Paul Subhamoy.
Name:  37.jpg
Views: 13292
Size:  158.8 KB

We kept moving. We were not in any kind of hurry. We were enjoying mountains and doing lots of photography.

A TATA Sumo was overtaking us at a sharp turn we gave him enough space. There were heavy peeeep poooop peeeep from behind, someone was in a real hurry and really fast. Well, and there we witnessed the first Vehicle of Raid de Himalaya Extreme Category. It was a Suzuki Grand Vitara with Number 2 (later in Leh we came to know it was Suresh Rana a Ten-time Raid winner). We let him pass! Well, actually he made his way and rushed ahead.

We kept moving and reached Gramphu turn. All the Motorcycles, officials and even Suresh Rana were stopped there and waiting for something. We wished them all the best, even they wished us all the best, after all, we were first "private" vehicle going towards Leh that day.

At this turn Suresh Rana overtook us.
Name:  42.jpg
Views: 13272
Size:  174.3 KB

Last edited by SJM1214 : 27th February 2018 at 11:44.
SJM1214 is offline   (4) Thanks
Old 23rd February 2018, 19:25   #11
Senior - BHPian
 
SJM1214's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Anand(GJ23)
Posts: 1,436
Thanked: 5,204 Times
Default re: Ladakh in a Duster AWD

Finally, Raid guys were behind us!! It was something 0730. Our night stay was planned at Padma Lodge, Jispa.

We were early...very very early!

Other Side of Rohtang Pass.
Name:  39.jpg
Views: 13206
Size:  99.4 KB

Bad roads.
Name:  40.jpg
Views: 13313
Size:  203.8 KB

Beautiful Mountains.
Name:  41.jpg
Views: 13219
Size:  117.5 KB

We started making more and long photography stops, parked our vehicle, played with the river, played with AWD, had a brief stop at Sissu, refilled at Tandi pump, clicked that famous 365 km signboard and visited Keylong.

Time Pass.
Name:  43.jpg
Views: 13219
Size:  166.8 KB

Played with Bapsa river.
Name:  44.jpg
Views: 13283
Size:  239.1 KB

Played with AWD.
Name:  45.jpg
Views: 13297
Size:  257.9 KB

Did some Photography
Name:  46.jpg
Views: 13198
Size:  191.5 KB

That Famous Fuel bunk.
Name:  47.jpg
Views: 13211
Size:  190.9 KB

Keylong is a small town with very narrow roads. We thought to have some tea and momos at Keylong but at one of the sharp turn, we got stuck with two or three cars with some heavy duty dumpers. After hundreds of small and tiny forwards and reverse manoeuvres, we managed to get out of that mess.We dropped the idea of tea and momos, got out of Keylong and drove towards Jispa.

Narrow Streets of Keylong.
Name:  48.jpg
Views: 13182
Size:  208.2 KB

Last edited by SJM1214 : 27th February 2018 at 11:46.
SJM1214 is offline   (5) Thanks
Old 23rd February 2018, 19:39   #12
Senior - BHPian
 
SJM1214's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Anand(GJ23)
Posts: 1,436
Thanked: 5,204 Times
Default re: Ladakh in a Duster AWD

At 1140, we were at Jispa, Padma Lodge gate. But didn't enter it.

We were discussing... "ab kya kare?" (Now what?)

"Check in kar le?(Shoud we check in?)... At 11:40???...nah(NO)!!!"

One of us said, let's move ahead...
Ahead means?

Darcha 6km.
Patsio 12Km.
Sarchu 98km.

Our research said none of the above places has stay arrangement after 15 September. So, we checked in.!

We had plenty of time. We played with the river just behind our lodge, talked with lodge’s Nepali caretaker, shared our booze with him, visited other hotels, talked with two riders, roamed around in Small Jispa Village and talked with locals. We told some of them our plan that, tomorrow we are going towards Leh crossing mighty Baralacha Pass. Those locals were staring each other in astonishment.

One of them said... “ upar ja rahe ho? Sambhal na, kabhi bhi barf gir Shakti hai”(Take care, Snowfall can happen anytime.)

Overall we had a very relaxing and lazy day, practically doing nothing! At night we asked Nepali caretaker for a campfire, had amazing food and Slept.

A long and tough day was waiting for us!!!

Small and Beautiful Jispa Village.
Name:  49.jpg
Views: 13125
Size:  160.4 KB

At the gate of Padma Lodge, discussing what to do.
Name:  50.jpg
Views: 13098
Size:  169.3 KB

A relaxing Day.
Name:  51.jpg
Views: 13032
Size:  85.5 KB

Notice Hotel Ibex and the Padma lodge in the background.
Name:  52.jpg
Views: 13162
Size:  274.4 KB

Baspa River
Name:  53.jpg
Views: 13070
Size:  176.8 KB

View from Padma Lodge.
Name:  54.jpg
Views: 13025
Size:  109.6 KB

Last edited by SJM1214 : 27th February 2018 at 11:47.
SJM1214 is offline   (6) Thanks
Old 23rd February 2018, 19:55   #13
Senior - BHPian
 
SJM1214's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Anand(GJ23)
Posts: 1,436
Thanked: 5,204 Times
Default re: Ladakh in a Duster AWD

Day 5: Jispa - Leh.

Rooms at Padma Lodge were small and cold. I was trying to make myself warm with one thermal, two blankets and one woollen monkey cap, but it was no use. My other two friends, one based at London is used to this kind of cold and other one is a frequent visitor to Canada and UK, so both of them were sleeping peacefully.

I was not able to sleep, at 0230 a vehicle arrived at the hotel, I was able to hear the noise. Earlier that evening, Nepali caretaker told me that they are accepting some guest coming from Leh. I thought to meet them and ask about road condition of Jispa to Leh but then who like to get out of his blanket when the temperature is -1 or -2.

Manali-Leh highway is one of the top toughest roads in the world! It’s beautiful, it’s amazing but it is tough! There are five high altitude pass (mountain gateways) higher than 14000ft on this road. Moreover, many starches on this roads are higher than 14000 ft. Extreme cold, lack of oxygen and due to that AMS (acute mountain sickness) are some of the major threats! Apart from that, Jispa (our night stay) is the last proper town /village. After that, there are only some military post and small dhabas. These dhabas and tent close their business after 15-20 September and go home.

This is not all, October is practically start of winter and if early winter comes, snowfall can block high passes and travellers can get stuck for days or weeks. It doesn't mean that it’s Impossible. One needs to do proper research before taking this journey and if you are travelling during October, you need to be ready for any kind of emergency.

We understood that. We had enough food and water for three days, apart from the heavy woollen clothes, we had three warm blankets, 20 litres of extra fuel and some booze. In short, we were ready to take this challenge!

Jispa Town.
Name:  55.jpg
Views: 13014
Size:  151.5 KB

Last edited by SJM1214 : 27th February 2018 at 11:49.
SJM1214 is offline   (4) Thanks
Old 23rd February 2018, 20:13   #14
Senior - BHPian
 
SJM1214's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Anand(GJ23)
Posts: 1,436
Thanked: 5,204 Times
Default re: Ladakh in a Duster AWD

Jispa to Sarchu

At 0440, we were ready to move. I was a bit disappointed as for next almost two hours, we’ll have to drive without sunlight. Driving on this roads without sunlight and photography is useless. I told my disappointment to other guys. We decided to take our breakfast at Darcha, which is police check post and a very small village 6 km from Jispa.

We left Padma Lodge at 0530. It was pitch-black, nothing was visible except a snow cladded mountain far ahead. It was Baralacha Pass which we were going to cross. The temperature in our Odometer was -1, the accurate temperature was -3. Jispa to Darcha is just 6 km, the road was nice, but we were not in hurry. Many supply trucks stayed at Jispa for the night also started, we let them go ahead. After half hour's slow and peaceful drive We Reached Darcha.

-1 Temperature at Jispa. My watch was showing -3.
Name:  56.jpg
Views: 12996
Size:  124.5 KB

To Baralacha Pass.
Name:  57.jpg
Views: 12987
Size:  130.2 KB

We started from Jispa.
Name:  58.jpg
Views: 12959
Size:  116.5 KB

Darcha is a small village with a Police CP, some dhabas and dormitory stay options. Every Vehicle going towards Leh have to register themselves at Darcha check post. After Darcha there is no human habitation, once you cross Darcha you are into the wild in real meaning!

We registered ourselves, crossed the barrier and ordered some aloo paratha at one of the Dhabas. We roamed around and found three to four dormitory stay options functioning at that time of the month. We inquired around and came to know that all these Dhabas and Dormitory stays will keep functioning until 15th Oct or BRO’s official announcement of Road closure.

After Darcha (3360M) real climbing started. It was still dark, but roads were good. I was waiting for a small man-made lake named Deepak Tal, at Patseio but we missed it. We stopped somewhere and waited for Sunlight. No! We didn't want to miss anything. We were approaching Zingzingbar, we read a lot about a famous water crossing at Zingzingbar. There wasn’t anything, not a single drop of water. Welcome to October. We were climbing towards Baralacha Pass (4890m). Roads were nice and Duster was amazingly responsive.

Waiting for Sunlight.
Name:  59.jpg
Views: 13005
Size:  181.1 KB

Some Rest for Duster.
Name:  60.jpg
Views: 12964
Size:  165.7 KB

Nice Tarred Road. Duster was amazingly responsive.
Name:  61.jpg
Views: 12944
Size:  121.3 KB

Last edited by SJM1214 : 27th February 2018 at 11:51.
SJM1214 is offline   (4) Thanks
Old 24th February 2018, 10:55   #15
Senior - BHPian
 
SJM1214's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Anand(GJ23)
Posts: 1,436
Thanked: 5,204 Times
Default re: Ladakh in a Duster AWD

All was amazing, views, road, vehicle and our moods. But I was feeling dizzy. We were gaining height. We were already higher than Rohtang Pass (3980M). My other friends took Diamox early morning. I wanted to try some natural remedies to tackle AMS, like drink more and more water, eat dry fruit, eat high-calorie food etc. I was trying all of this from the morning. After some time, I realized that I was forgetting something very important “Garlic water”. I sipped it and “Eureka”. It was stinking, it was bitter but gave immediate effect on dizziness!

We were at Baralacha Pass in no time. A snow-less Baralacha Pass & water-less Suraj Tall. During all of my earlier trips to Ladakh, we always found amazing snow and lots of water at Suraj Tall. But then, it was October, be ready for surprises. We spend a half hour at Baralacha Top. The temperature was -7.

At Baralachla Top.
Name:  62.jpg
Views: 13054
Size:  191.1 KB

Snowless Baralacha Top.
Name:  63.jpg
Views: 12895
Size:  126.5 KB

Waterless Suraj Tall.
Name:  64.jpg
Views: 12943
Size:  176.9 KB

At Baralachla Top.
Name:  65.jpg
Views: 12968
Size:  193.9 KB

View from B Top.
Name:  67.jpg
Views: 12869
Size:  96.9 KB

Temperature -7 at Baralcha Top.
Name:  68.jpg
Views: 12866
Size:  112.0 KB

Personally for me, Baralacha Top was disappointing, I accepted lots of snow, instead, we found empty Suraj Tal and snowless Baralacha with amazing Tarred Surface.

Why was I disappointed at Baralachla Pass?

This was my third trip to Leh. I always found amazing snow at Baralacha top and lots of water at Suraj Tal. Sharing some images of my travel to Leh during July 2009.

BaralachLa Pass July 2009.
Name:  69.jpg
Views: 12922
Size:  176.6 KB

BaralachLa Pass July 2009.
Name:  70.jpg
Views: 12952
Size:  244.1 KB

BaralachLa Pass July 2009.
Name:  71.jpg
Views: 12926
Size:  211.7 KB

Last edited by SJM1214 : 27th February 2018 at 11:52.
SJM1214 is offline   (7) Thanks
Reply

Most Viewed
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks